Artisanal Herb-Infused Vinegar: Acadian Forest Edition

in #homesteading2 years ago

Today I decided to create my entry for the wonderful challenge that @mountainjewel has created: What Does Your Forest Taste Like? Make Your Own Flowers, Weeds & More Herbal Vinegar for Spring!

This little adventure took me into the Acadian Forests of New Brunswick also known as my back yard!

I went outside with my basket, hori-hori knife, camera and scissors. I had to come back to the house and put my snowshoes on when my legs sank into the deep snow. I was being overly optimistic to try this adventure without them.

It started to snow a little bit but not to worry, spring is coming. Much like my own sluggish self, she's just been having trouble rousing herself. I can see little buds on the trees and lively citrus green tips on some of the spruce trees.

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” ~ John Muir

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I really love our forest. There's a lot of moss, exposed roots and fungus everywhere. It has this mystical feeling to it. For this foraging project I focused on looking up. Normally I'd be looking down on the ground a lot for a project like this but with all that snow on the ground, most things are still hidden from us.

Here's what I found in the forest!

Spruce tips

The spruce tips haven't really developed yet on most trees so just grabbed a few.
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Usnea

You'll find copious amounts of usnea dangling from trees like tinsel in these forests.
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Chaga

This is an old Yellow Birch and when you are looking for chaga, that's the place to look. I found some chaga conveniently near to the house and was going to cut some but then I looked up. Right above me was a massive tree hanging broken entangled in the canopy above. I promised to be careful when I am alone in the woods so I left it alone.

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I have a place marked on our GPS to a grove with a big cache of Chaga but the path is currently a lake with running water. The reason that our dogs are coming home wet and smelly all makes sense now.

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Early spring is very barren. Even the birch sap is holding back on flowing. I really didn't find much to work with in the forest. I decided to look around the yard on my way back to the house.

Narrow Leaf Plantain (I think) or maybe Dwarf Plantain.

I am really working on my plant identification. I'm not 100% sure I've nailed this but I am confident enough that it's edible because I've nibbled on it before.

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Horseradish

I found some horseradish growing in a puddle of water and plucked it right out of the ground. We love horseradish and don't mind that it's spread to places it wasn't planted.

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Oregano

The oregano is starting to grow! Have I me4ntioned how much I love perennials? It's beautiful and the bees love it when it flowers. All the dead woody stems needs to be pruned. I'll do this tomorrow I think.

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Other Stuff

I decided to toss in some chaga, labrador tea and juniper berries. Although I didn't collect them fresh today, they come from our forest and this mixture just didn't seem exciting enough without adding some. I've never made such a "Woodsy" infusion before. This should be interesting. I'm wondering if those juniper berries will add a gin like flavour?

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The Infusion

I added a little bit of each item into a mason jar and combined it with the goodness of our home-made apple cider vinegar with mother. This particular jar was just recently discovered in a cupboard. Its nice and strong. The mother in the jar was lovely and healthy.

RAW ACV with Mother

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Everything Mixed Together

And here we go. We'll let this infusion sit for a week or so before straining.

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[@walkerland ]
Building a greener, more beautiful world one seed at a time.
Homesteading | Gardening | Frugal Living | Preserving Food| From Scratch Cooking|

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OMG OMG OMG OMG this is so good !!! wooohoo!! and do you want to know the weirdest/coolest thing!??! OMG! ... i had a dream about you using plantain in yours last night and woke up this morning thinking i should have put that on the list of common plants... OMG too hilarious and i think it's awsome you have now entered into my dreaming life LOL! excellent entry dear ;) (as i knew you would!) this one will turn out super well! resteemed @the-hearth, @mountainjewel's earth-centered curation page.

I'm so glad to know someone who gets as excited about these concoctions and experiences as I do. Thank you for this and thank you for the support. I really enjoyed my afternoon in the forest and it was your encouragement that made it happen.

The fact that I have entered into your dreaming life is quite phenomenal. How in the world did you know I'd use plantain? Perhaps one day I'll figure out all those things that hold me back and we'll end up walking around in the same dream!

I'm always preparing aromatic vinegar but don't use more than three ingredients. I usually use garlic, pepper and basil. The other favorite of mine is pepper, garlic and bayleaf.

That sounds really nice @erikah!

What a wild garden of delights you have! Definitely an artisans vinegar. Here in our semi-desert South African countryside we have plantain but otherwise just succulents - do you think aloe infused vinegar would work?!! I'm also impressed with your ACV. Still have it on my "must-do" list. Thanks for the inspiration

I wonder if the flowers of the succulents would make a good infusion? Are the flowers edible? I've read about a drink that is water/aloe and vinegar but I'm not sure about how it would work as an infusion. Sounds like you've got a really unique terrain, it must be beautiful!

It is beautiful! Aloes will start blooming in a couple months time and I will definitely post some photos. As well as try the floral vinegar. That's a great idea thank you

oh how exciting! I look forward to reading your post.

Looks so beautiful!!! I can smell it from here... Your landscape is so different to ours, its cool to take a walk through it with you!

Thanks for coming on a walk with me :)

I love this! Chaga is one of my favorite things on earth. I discovered it in Yukon territory and had to snowshoe to harvest it the first time. This post brings back good memories. I have since found chaga within 3 hours of home, for which I am grateful.

Oh, the Yukon is beautiful. I've only visited a few times but I am sure you made a lot of good memories there! I'm glad you found some close-ish to home and that this post took you down memory lane! :)

Garden porn palooza!!!!! Thank you for this deliberate sharing of joy!!!

Thank you!

thanks for your participation! you're a winner!

oh wow! Thank you. :)